Sept. 24, 2005
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Senior Eric Langenkamp (Scarsdale, N.Y./Scarsdale H.S.) and junior and local product Ryan Keckley (South Bend, Ind./St. Joseph’s H.S.) knocked off a top-25 doubles team for the second time in as many days to lead the University of Notre Dame men’s tennis team in its lone home tournament, the Tom Fallon Invitational, Saturday at the Courtney Tennis Center and in the Eck Tennis Pavilion. The Irish duo upset the nation’s 15th-ranked team a day after downing the #22 pair. The tournament will wrap up on Sunday, with play beginning at 8:30 a.m. (EST/CDT).
Day two of the TFI was another good one for the Irish, which went 7-2 in singles and 6-3 in doubles as a team. Three Notre Dame players – Keckley, senior captain Patrick Buchanan (Fullerton, Calif./Servite H.S.), and freshman Brett Helgeson (Overland Park, Kan./Blue Valley West H.S.) – went unbeaten for the second day in a row, while sophomore Sheeva Parbhu (Omaha, Neb./Millard North H.S.) earned a victory over a nationally-ranked player in singles.
The highlight of the day again belonged to Langenkamp and Keckley, who handed Matt Baccarani and Patrick Thompson of Ball State their first defeat of the season by an 8-4 score. The Irish pair controlled the match the entire way, breaking serve twice and holding in each of their six opportunities en route to knocking off the #15-ranked team. It was the highest-ranked victory for any Irish team since Casey Smith and Javier Taborga – who were ranked #5 at the time – beat seventh-ranked Michael Calkins and Amer Delic of Illinois at No. 1 in dual-match action on March 7, 2002. Smith and Taborga, who were doubles All-Americans that season and ended up ranked eighth in the nation, also were the last ND team to beat more than one top-25 team in the same season. They had five victories vs. teams in the top 25 in 2001-02 and also beat the 26th-ranked team twice.
The Ball State seniors, who were the runners-up in last month’s ITA National Summer Championships, had registered a hard-fought 8-3 win against the 22nd-ranked team of Brian Hung and Matko Maravic of Michigan – which lost 9-7 to Keckley and Langenkamp on Friday – shortly before facing the Notre Dame duo. Baccarani and Thompson finished last season with a 30-6 record, including 23-3 in dual action at No. 1. They reached the round of 16 in the ITA All-American Championships and earned an at-large berth to the NCAA Doubles Championship. In their careers together, they are now 53-18 (.746). Keckley has been responsible for two of those defeats, as he and Luis Haddock beat the Ball State team 8-6 in the quarterfinals of the 2003 ITA Midwest Championships. Baccarani and Thompson have beaten the Irish in dual action at No. 1 in both of the last two seasons, downing Keckley and Brent D’Amico 9-7 in 2004 and the team of D’Amico and Langenkamp 8-5 last spring.
Keckley and Langenkamp earlier beat Paul Rose and Scott Warner of Purdue by an 8-3 score, and they now stand 3-0 on the season and 5-1 in their careers as a team, having won five straight since losing in their debut together. Both came into the weekend with just two career wins against nationally-ranked teams, but they have matched that sum in as many chances. The senior led the Irish in doubles victories last season (21-18 record), while Keckley was tops in dual-match wins in partnered play (16-9). He has more career doubles wins than any other Irish player, sporting a 41-27 record, but Langenkamp is right behind at 40-29 in his career. Keckley is 25-10 (.714) in his career against regional foes in doubles.
The other big win of the day came from Parbhu, who defeated 80th-ranked Jeremy Sonkin of Wisconsin 6-4, 6-4 in singles action. The Badgers sophomore was 24-12 last season, including 16-5 in dual-match play at No. 2. He is now 0-3 in his career against Notre Dame players, having lost twice to Barry King as a rookie. Parbhu, who is playing as a nationally-ranked player (77th) for the first time this weekend, has now won three consecutive tight two-setters to begin the season. The win was the second of his career against a nationally-ranked player. He has won a career-high 10 consecutive singles matches – dating back to March 17 – and is now 35-7 (.833) in his career. Parbhu is 16-3 (.842) at home, including 8-1 (.889) at the Courtney Tennis Center. He has won 10 straight outdoors and is 22-4 (.846) overall. Parbhu also has won eight straight against the region and is 15-2 (.882) in his career against the Midwest Region. He has shown a tremendous ability to win tight matches, as he is 24-6 (.800) in close sets (6-4, 7-5, or tiebreakers), as well as 12-2 (.857) in close matches.
Buchanan remained perfect this weekend by first beating Michigan’s Steve Peretz 7-5, 6-1 and then teaming with junior Stephen Bass (Bronxville, N.Y./Iona Preparatory School) to top Elliott Bisnow and Brennen Phippen of Wisconsin 8-3 before pairing with sophomore Andrew Roth (Houston, Texas/Tenney School) to defeat the Ball State team of Jose Perdomo and Danny Vidal by an 8-4 score. Buchanan is now 18-5 (.783) in his career in the Tom Fallon Invitational, including 7-1 in doubles. He also is 34-12 (.739) in his career in fall play, as well as 35-13 (.729) in singles vs. the Midwest Region.
Helgeson continued his perfect play as a collegian. Ranked 108th in the nation after being the only college-bound player to reach the quarterfinals in the USTA Super National Hardcourt Championships over the summer, he beat Maor Zirkin of Israel 6-4, 6-3 in the morning before notching a pair of doubles victories. He first paired with Roth to beat the Purdue team of Colin Foster and Kurt Zaske 8-4 before joining Parbhu for a 9-7 win over brothers Jarrrod and Tom Epkey of Ball State.
Bass, the highest-ranked player on the Irish at 74th, moved to 3-0 this season in singles by defeating the 2005 Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year, Sergi Vila of Drake. The Irish junior was up 5-2 in the opening set when the Spaniard retired due to injury. He now holds a 26-8 (.765) career singles record at home and a 22-5 (.815) mark outdoors. Bass is now 9-0 in his career in singles matches at the Courtney Tennis Center, and he has won six straight when carrying a national ranking. He is 10-1 (.909) in his career in singles play in the TFI, with the lone defeat coming in 2003. Bass holds a 19-5 (.792) mark in fall action as a member of the Irish.
Sophomore Yuichi Uda (Wesley Chapel, Fla./Laurel Springs School [CA]) also improved to 3-0 this season in singles by beating Ivan Mendoza of Drake 6-1, 1-6, 1-0 (10-7). He is 2-0 in his career in match tiebreakers and 8-3 (.727) overall.
Freshman Santiago Montoya (Scottsdale, Ariz./St. Stephen’s Episcopal School [TX]) earned his first collegiate victory on Saturday morning, defeating Drake’s Chris Lueth 7-6 (7-4), 6-1.
Junior Irackli Akhvlediani (Vienna, Austria/Vienna International School) also was a winner in singles, beating Israeli Jonathan Tishler of Drake 6-2, 6-2.
Langenkamp, who won the singles crown in last month’s ITA National Summer Championships, suffered his first collegiate defeat in nearly a year, losing a match tiebreaker in a 6-4, 5-7, 1-0 (10-7) loss to Australian Dalibor Pavic of Drake. It was the first loss for the Irish senior since entering the national singles rankings for the first time, at 89th.
Notre Dame will conclude action in the Tom Fallon Invitational on Sunday. The Irish are scheduled to first play singles matches against Ball State at 8:30 a.m. (EST/CDT) and then take on Wisconsin in doubles at Noon.
Tom Fallon Invitational, Day Two (Sept. 24)Singles#74 Stephen Bass (ND) d. Sergi Vila (D) 5-2, retired#108 Brett Helgeson (ND) d. Maor Zirkin (D) 6-4, 6-3Dalibor Pavic (D) d. #89 Eric Langenkamp (ND) 6-4, 5-7, 1-0 (10-7)Irackli Akhvlediani (ND) d. Jonathan Tishler (D) 6-2, 6-2Yuichi Uda (ND) d. Ivan Mendoza (D) 6-1, 1-6, 1-0 (10-7)Santiago Montoya (ND) d. Chris Lueth (D) 7-6 (7-4), 6-1Patrick Buchanan (ND) d. Steve Peretz (M) 7-5, 6-1Peter Aarts (M) d. Andrew Roth (ND) 6-3, 2-6, 1-0 (10-5)#77 Sheeva Parbhu (ND) d. #80 Jeremy Sonkin (W) 6-4, 6-4DoublesRyan Keckley/Eric Langenkamp (ND) d. Paul Rose/Scott Warner (P) 8-3Eric Hodgman/Patrick Rose (P) d. Santiago Montoya/Sheeva Parbhu (ND) 8-2Brett Helgeson/Andrew Roth (ND) d. Colin Foster/Kurt Zaske (P) 8-4Kelubia Mabatah/Griffin Nienberg (P) d. Irackli Akhvlediani/Yuichi Uda (ND) 8-1Stephen Bass/Patrick Buchanan (ND) d. Elliott Bisnow/Brennen Phippen (W) 8-3 [indoors]Ryan Keckley/Eric Langenkamp (ND) d. #15 Matt Baccarani/Patrick Thompson (BS) 8-4Brett Helgeson/Sheeva Parbhu (ND) d. Jarrod Epkey/Tony Epkey (BS) 9-7Joe Epkey/Joe Vallee (BS) d. Stephen Bass/Santiago Montoya (ND) 8-6Patrick Buchanan/Andrew Roth (ND) d. Jose Perdomo/Danny Vidal (BS) 8-4